Pope Francis tried yet again to explain the recent Vatican declaration on the same-sex blessings of couples on Friday.
It seems with every pronouncement on same-sex blessings, the gesture is diminished. At first glance, the declaration seemed a formal acknowledgement of same-sex relationships. But in his latest explanation, Francis portrays it as little more than a friendly greeting to strangers.
On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings
On December 18, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith published On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings. Formerly known as the Inquisition, the Dicastery works to spread Catholic doctrine and defend Christian tradition.
On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings authorised priests to bestow spontaneous, unplanned blessings to divorced and remarried couples and those in same-sex unions.
The declaration, particularly the mention of same-sex blessings, prompted responses from two opposing sides.
Some saw On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings as a significant step forward in outreach to the LGBTQIA+ community.
However, conservative bishops worldwide described the idea of same-sex blessings as heresy.
Many bishops said they would not perform the blessings, particularly in African countries where gay sex remains illegal.
On Friday, Francis again tried to explain the same-sex blessings, this time in a speech to the Dicastery. He specified that the blessing was intended for the people involved in the union, not the union itself.
The decision, he said, is intended “to concretely show the closeness of the Lord and of the Church to all those who, finding themselves in different situations, ask for help to carry on – sometimes to begin – a journey of faith.”
He also insisted that “when a couple spontaneously approaches to ask for is, the union is not blessed, but simply the people who have requested it together. Not the union, but the people, naturally taking into account the context, the sensitivities, and the places in which one lives and the most suitable ways to do so.”
For the latest LGBTIQA+ Sister Girl and Brother Boy news, entertainment, community stories in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagra